Covid resurgence across Europe even in countries that managed the first wave so well it did not de-facto happen – like Czechia and Slovakia – is in part a consequence of exactly that. The governments got the impression that everything is over and experts were no longer listened to. Common people, who never were used to listening to experts anyway, were glad to hear the soothing messages from governments because they told them what they wanted to hear.
“It is OK now, you can go on a holiday, you can go to a bar, you can mingle all you want”.
And let’s not forget the toxic influence of American right-wing politics spreading throughout the world.
When our then health minister and his expert advisers said at the end of August that there should be introduced some mild preventative measures to assure the disease does not get out of hand, the strongest opposition came from our right-wing parties, who still propagate the long ago falsified idea of trickle-down reaganomics. They objected that the minister is fearmongering and that businesses suffer as a consequence and all that. Oh, and also the old chestnut that it is just like the flu and we do not do any such measures against flu either.
Two months and two new health ministers later, and Czechia is eleventh worldwide in infections per capita, and only second among countries over 10 million. Finally, we surpassed even the USA, as our right-wing parties wished we did, only in a metric even shittier than wealth inequality. And now we have not only businesses closed, we also have a curfew – and the talk is that even stricter measures might be needed because the virus does not seem to be slowing down that much.
Unfortunately, the only measures against a pandemic that are adequate are those that are perceived as too much by the general public. Unless the grumblers grumble, not enough is being done – a lesson learned in the past that will be forgotten in the future when the next pandemic hits.